Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Deception Pass, Whidbey Island
Deception Pass in Washington State is a narrow channel of water that separates Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island connecting Skagit Bay in Puget Sound with the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Deception Pass was discovered by Joseph Whidbey during the 1792 Vancouver expedition to the Pacific Northwest. Vancouver named it Deception Pass because it had appeared to be a narrow bay instead of a strait.
A 976 foot bridge connects Fidalgo and Whibey islands. The two spans of the bridge were constructed high above the pass as a public works project in 1935. In the middle is tiny Pass Island. Here you will find a small viewpoint parking area. There are also turnouts and parking areas on each side of the bridge. The bridge itself has narrow pedestrian walkways for the brave (not me!).
Deception Pass State Park is located on both sides of the strait. It was also constructed in the 1930s as a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) public works project. Today, it is the most visited state park in Washington. It offers camping, picnicing, hiking, boating, kayaking, fishing and swimming. Camp and picnic areas have shelters for fireplaces and picnic tables. Seeing one of the original ones at the north shore picnic area really brought back memories of camping when I was young. If you prefer something less rustic, there are hotels and motels in nearby Anacortes and Oak Harbor.
Because it's a narrow strait, the tides create a flow of water up to 6 knots. Sailboats with small engines can be seen waiting for the tide to change before attempting passage. Even powerboats with larger engines time their transit for calmer waters. For viewing, I recommend the north beach area on the Whidbey side of the park. Day use is free. The trail from the parking area to the beach is only 1/10th of a mile down a gentle trail.
Sit on a log and watch your cares flow away. -- Margy